Whole Grains

I’m sure you’ve been hearing about whole grains, but what exactly is a “whole” grain and how can you prepare them in enticing ways? Well, let’s try to demystify a bit. A grain consists of three main parts (which are found inside an inedible layer called a hull. Each part has its own nutritional characteristic:

  • Germ – vitamins B and E, essential amino acids, oils
  • Endosperm – mostly starch (carbohydrate)
  • Bran – fiber and B vitamins

When the grain is processed, first the hull is removed and what remains is a fully edible whole grain. With further processing, both the germ and bran can be removed, leaving only the starchy, carbohydrate-rich endosperm, also known as refined grains like white rice and white flour. Here are a few tips on buying, storing and preparing whole grains:

  • Purchase grains from the bulk aisle/resources for reasonable prices and reduce the chances of over-buying and thus wasting food and money.
  • Transfer grains to airtight, glass containers and freeze the grains for a few days to prevent the development of any pantry moths. Then transfer the containers to a dark cupboard as far away from any heat source as possible.
  • Since whole grains take longer to cook than refined grains, it’s a good practice to prepare a few meals worth at one time. Then refrigerate or freeze and pull out the amount needed for a quick last-minute meal!

Check out the recipe page for one of my new favorites using whole, pinhead oats. But my favorite element of the dish is the awesome lemon cream!! Please try and I hope you will enjoy.

Happy Eating,
Chef Donna and the Your Plate or Mine Team

Information Source: Whole Grains For a New Generation, Liana Krissoff

2 Responses to “Whole Grains”

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  1. Vic says:

    What other whole wheats do you recommend and how do you cook them?

  2. Chef Donna says:

    Hello Vic! Thanks for the questions. It’s all a matter of taste on which grain to try. There are the more popular/common grains such as barley, cornmeal, brown rice and couscous. You can introduce less common and mild tasting grains like quinoa (which is becoming very popular), millet or freekah. For heartier tastes, try oat groats, farro or kasha.

    The easiest way to prepare is to simmer in water or liquid of choice (broth, etc.) according to package directions or cooking chart. Usually the ratio of liquid to grain is somewhere between 2:1 and 3:1.